The Holy Family

c. 1620s
Location: not on view
You can copy, modify, and distribute this work, all without asking permission. Learn more about CMA's Open Access Initiative.

Download, Print and Share

Did You Know?

With hennaed fingertips Mary holds the vase so baby Jesus doesn’t tip it over.


This painting of Joseph, the Virgin Mary, and the infant Jesus is based on European sources, but it also contains several details that are specifically Indian. For example, although Mary is dressed in classical European-style robes, she is adorned with jewelry of rubies and emeralds, the preferred gems of Mughal royalty. Her fingertips are also red with henna, and she wears a bindi on her forehead. The detailed rendering of the vase evokes the Catholic St. Francis as well as Indian worship of the sun. The vessel itself points to the appreciation of Chinese blue-and-white ware imported from imperial Ming-dynasty kilns to the court of Jahangir (reigned 1605–27).
The Holy Family

The Holy Family

c. 1620s

Northern India, Mughal court, early 17th century

Visually Similar Artworks

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.